After you break the news to your husband, the next in line to hear the story might very well be your health-insurance agent. If you already have a doctor who participates in your insurance plan and who you want to help deliver your baby, you're all set. But for many women this is the time for making careful choices about the person who will give them prenatal care and who will eventually deliver their baby. Before you can begin to look around or interview physicians, you'll first need to find out what doctors and facilities in your area are covered under your plan. Some plans give you the freedom to choose any health-care provider you like (count yourself lucky if that's your plan). But nowadays, most have a list of participating doctors and hospitals that you must choose from if you want your insurance to cover the bills. If that's the case, there's no sense interviewing a long list of health-care providers, only to discover that the right person and hospital for you are not covered by your plan.
When you call member services (the phone number is usually printed on your insurance card), have a pen and pencil handy to write down all the information. First ask if your policy, or your spouse's, is the primary carrier. Then ask the primary provider the following questions:
If you don't have health insurance, don't let this keep you from getting the prenatal care that's vital to your health and the health of your baby. Call your local hospital and ask where you can find a free clinic. Also ask whom you can speak to about your eligibility for charity care programs or Medicaid.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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